Better than Lynda La Plante.
That’s truly high praise coming from a woman who’s read almost every crime fiction novel ever written. My mum is back on the blog today, reviewing Caz Frear’s debut novel, Sweet Little Lies.
What it’s about
Cat Kinsella was always a daddy’s girl. Until the summer of 1998 when she sees her father flirting with seventeen-year-old Maryanne Doyle. Then Maryanne later disappears and Cat’s father denies ever knowing her.
Eighteen years later, Cat is now a Detective Constable with the Met. Called to the scene of a murder in Islington, she discovers a woman’s body: Alice Lapaine has been found strangled, not far from the pub that Cat’s father runs.
When evidence links Alice to the still missing Maryanne, all Cat’s fears about her father resurface. Could he really be a killer? Determined to confront the past and find out what really happened to Maryanne all those years ago, Cat begins to dig into the case. But the problem with looking into the past is that sometimes you might not like what you find.
Sweet Little Lies review – by a crime fiction aficionado
On the story…
I liked that I couldn’t pick the murderer from the first couple of pages. Sweet Little Lies has a very clever plot but you don’t feel the complexities when you’re reading it.
I loved the humour. For such a dark story, it had a biting humour. I was worried the author might not be able to sustain it but she did. When she got closer to the solution the humour took a back seat because catching the killer became more real.
On the characters…
They were three-dimensional characters, I could picture them walking off the page towards me. The characters were complicated and were not always what they seemed, which is true to life.
The victim started off appearing to be this lovely person but as life unravelled it turns out she just wasn’t.
The family relationships were spot on. I loved the fact that the siblings were so dysfunctional towards each other but they were still family and couldn’t escape each other no matter how hard they tried. Cat – the detective – loved her older sister but was exasperated by her. Neither of them was completely wrong, but they gave a different perspective on things.
Cat’s initial view was that her mother was perfect and her father was evil, but her older sister had a twist on that. She knew her mother wasn’t perfect.
Cat’s struggle to maintain any other life outside of work was easy to identify with. Work can eat you alive, it really can, especially when it collides with your personal life. She puts herself in a completely unethical situation by not confessing at the beginning about the relationship of the victim to her father and then spends most of the story just waiting to be found out.
Disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher for the purpose of review.